Wayne Simmonds is on the door step of his first All Star Game and with that, a real chance at being an elite power forward in the NHL. Simmonds, a Scarborough, Ontario native, started his hockey career playing for the Brockville Braves after then coach and GM Mike McCourt scouted him at the Telus Cup Regional Midget tournament in the spring of 2005. Simmonds was overlooked during the OHL draft but got an opportunity two years later when the Owen Sound Attack drafted him in the 6th round (144th overall) of the draft. He played in the OHL from 2006-2008 until the LA Kings drafted him in the 2nd round (61st overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Simmonds impressed in the preseason as he was only 1 of two rookies to make the Kings 2008 roster.
The rest from there is history. Philadelphia traded their star captain and Oxycodone enthusiast, Mike Richards, and now DEL league forward Rob Bordson for Braydenn Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, and a 2012 2nd round pick. Wayne signed a two-year contract with an average salary of $1.75 million and has since been a consistent offensive power for the Flyers. Since the lockout shortened season, he has recorded at least 60 points in each season sans 2012 when he scored 50 points but only played 75 games due to injury. His production warranted a six year extension at $4 million a year. What makes Wayne such a special player though? Lets break it down:
1. His Awareness:
Wayne is a madman in front of the net. With such prominent awareness, he’s able to set up valuable screens for the Flyers offense. He’s also one of the NHL’s best in the art of the deflection. Not since Eric Lindros have the Flyers seen such a force in front.
2. His Physicality:
Now I know Simmer isn’t the tallest guy in the NHL at 6’2″; or even the biggest at 190 lbs, but he WILL knock your lights out. Just look at this fight between Wayne Train and Detroit Red Wing’s Johnathan Ericsson where he makes Ericsson fall asleep faster than a sloth at an Enya concert.
In his time with the Flyers he has 3 Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, 575 penalty minutes (60 this year), and has been in 34 fights. That is more than any of his current team mates. Even NHL veterans recommend no one crosses paths with Wayne Train.
Pacioretty: Is [Beleskey] tough? You played with him right?
Subban: Yeah, he’s tough. He’s not, like, Wayne Simmonds tough. But he’s tough.
Pacioretty: Oh, so I can get him on my card?
Subban: No, you cannot fight Wayne Simmonds.
Good advice PK.
3. His Progression:
Since entering the league Wayne Simmonds offensive production has gone up 260%. In LA he was mostly utilized as a defensive offenceman but the Flyers have learned to take advantage of Wayne Simmonds work ethic. Wayne leads the Flyers roster with 16 goals this year and is 6th in the entire NHL. Impressive numbers for a player that is 5th highest paid Flyer.
Wayne is the complete package, a guy who has vision, speed, and physicality. Simmer isn’t afraid of hitting or taking a hit and also possess an offensive ability that has only improved. Simmonds is more than on his way to becoming a rock star in this league and the sky’s the limit for number 17.
Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports